Greater Topeka 20 Under 40: Shanna Russell
Photo by Nathan Ham
Education: Kansas State University, BS // Fort Hays State University, MS
Hometown: Auburn, KS
Significant Other: Ssgt. Michael McKenzie, USMC
Children: Marquel (11), Mystie (8), Mashayla (6) and Maddox (5)
Best Advice Ever Received:
John Johnston and Sophie George from the Topeka Housing Authority told me when I was hiring, “just get rid of the entire job description except the little line at the bottom that says ‘other duties as assigned’ and everyone will do their jobs.”
Accomplishment Most Proud Of:
My children (I’m a mom, saying that is a must) but, other than that, the Pine Ridge Prep program. The success of this school has been because of the dedicated, caring and talented people that make it happen. People who volunteer and work here give it their all every day and because of that we are rewarded every day by the children and families, we serve. This program is for the kids and families and everything we do centers around how to make their lives the best possible.
Gives a voice to those who are often most misunderstood.
Sunflower Hero by KSNT-TV for her work with Pine Ridge Community.
Three of her children are adopted through foster care.
“Ms. Russell is passionate, intelligent, committed and tireless. She is perfectly suited to the challenge she has taken on. She has the insight, skills and commitment needed to make change happen, and she is deeply committed to helping low-income, minority women transform their lives and the lives of their children.”
- John Johnson
President & CEO
The Topeka Housing Authority